Singapore allows gathering in groups of 5 again as local coronavirus spread slows

Two individuals wear masks in Singapore. Photo: Victor He
Two individuals wear masks in Singapore. Photo: Victor He

Singaporeans can go back to hanging out in groups of five instead of just two when the latest round of tighter restrictions progressively eases up Monday.

Local events can start to accommodate more people while personal care services that require customers to take off face masks, such as facials, can resume as well, the Health Ministry announced today. The loosened restrictions put the country back into Phase 3 of its relaxation of rules amid reduced reports of locally transmitted cases. However, the country still considers itself under “heightened alert.”

Dining at restaurants and going to the gym and tuition centers will only be permitted from June 21, while working from home will remain as the default arrangement for employees, the ministry said. 

Additionally, local pharmacies like Guardian, Unity, and Watsons will start to sell coronavirus testing kits to the public on June 16, limited to 10 kits per person. 

The national vaccination program will also start to welcome registrations for those aged 12 to 39 from tomorrow. Those under 18 years are required to obtain parental consent before doing so. 

People who have recovered from COVID-19 are allowed to get a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine instead of two, because the ministry said that those who recovered in the last six months were considered to have stronger immunity than others.

Singapore reimposed some of its COVID-19 restrictions last month amid a new wave of locally transmitted cases starting with an outbreak at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi Airport, which has been closed till Sunday. The number of daily “community” cases reduced from numbering in the dozens to single digits this week – none of which were linked to the hospital or airport.

Around 30% of the population received the coronavirus vaccine after the rollout began in December, starting with frontliners, the elderly, those aged 40 and up, and most recently, students. 

Singapore has reported 62,223 infections and 34 deaths since the pandemic landed in January last year.

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